Doctors have begun to prescribe a treatment that’s been called a “wonder drug” by some. The thing is, you don’t drink or swallow it. Quite frankly, it isn’t at drug at all. And here’s the kicker: you’ve likely been doing it since you were about a year old.
Walking—that’s right, walking—might be the most beneficial form of physical activity you can do. And honestly, it’s the most natural form of exercise: it’s intuitive, you already know how to do it, and it’s easily accessible. But you know all that. What you might not know are the various ways it can benefit your health.
- It might silence genes that promote weight gain: A Harvard study researched 32 obesity-promoting genes in more tan 12,000 people. They found that people who walked briskly for about an hour per day were able to halve the effects of those genes.
- Controls cravings: Research has shown that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for sugary snacks and reduce stress-eating.
- Eases joint pain: Several studies have found that walking can reduce joint pain and potentially prevent it altogether. Walking protects the joints in the knees and hips by keeping them lubricated and strengthening surrounding muscles.
- Improves immunity: People who walk at least 20-minutes per day are less likely to get sick than those who walk less. One study found that people who walked for 21-minutes per days five times per week were less likely to get colds and flu. If they did get sick, the symptoms were milder and the illness lasted less time.
Walking also promotes blood flow, which can benefit the mind and heart. Trying to spend more time on your feet every day is a great place to start. You don’t necessarily need to schedule a chunk of “walk time” into your day, just try to find more opportunities to fit it in.
For example, parking further from the entrance to the grocery store, walking to run errands, or taking the stairs can all add minutes of walking to your day. If you’re still not getting enough time on your feet, heading out for a morning or evening walk is a great way to start or end your day on a healthful note.